Chickpeas Kurma Recipe | South Indian Channa Curry
Last Updated on July 14, 2023 by Santosh Allada
Chickpeas Kurma Recipe is a delicious South Indian curried dish made with freshly ground masala paste. This easy vegan kurma is made with chickpeas, whole spices, powdered spices, coconut, seeds, and fresh herbs. Kurma with ghee rice or parotta (Indian flatbread made with all-purpose flour) is a hugely popular combo in South India.
Kurma is a popular dish in the South Indian cuisine. It has its own distinct characteristics that set it apart from other variations of the dish. It is commonly served in popular South Indian restaurants like Udupi and Saravana Bhavan.
Today, I will share a variation of chickpeas kurma that elevates its taste and appeal – the chickpeas kurma recipe with a special masala paste. Special masala paste is a vibrant and aromatic mixture of fresh herbs, whole spices, and tomatoes. It adds a burst of color and a refreshing twist to the traditional kurma.
I like to recreate the hotel and restaurant recipes and mimic those flavor profiles and textures. This channa kurma is one such attempt. Though I haven’t got it exactly like the Udupi hotel/restaurant style, this comes pretty close. I liked both, the flavor of the dish and the gravy are quite smooth and thick.
About Chickpeas Kurma Recipe
The Chickpeas Kurma Recipe is simple and easy to make in which soaked chickpeas are simmered in a flavorful base gravy made with onion and coconut-nut-seeds-spices based masala paste.
The recipe I am sharing here is made using a pressure cooker. It helps in reducing the cooking time and allows the flavors to infuse beautifully.
South Indian chana kurma is known for its vibrant and aromatic flavors. This recipe is inspired by Udupi cuisine which is known for its use of a wide range of spices and herbs that are used to create unique flavors in each dish.
Even though the ingredients used in this kurma recipe are almost the ones used in other varieties of kurma, the recipe uses a freshly ground green masala paste where the magic happens.
It incorporates a unique blend of spices, including fennel seeds, poppy seeds, coconut, and herbs. These spices contribute to the distinct taste profile of the kurma, giving it a slightly sweet and nutty flavor with a hint of freshness from the herbs.
The special masala paste takes the kurma to a whole new level, infusing it with a delightful freshness.
The key ingredients to make a flavorful chickpeas kurma are including the whole spices – bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, and green cardamom. These can be either used in the tempering or ground to a paste along with other ingredients.
The use of coconut, cashews, and poppy seeds in the kurma paste not only enhances the taste but also acts as a natural thickener to the gravy.
This Chickpeas Kurma Recipe is split into 3 parts;
1. Soak the dried chickpeas.
2. Make a special masala paste.
3. Make the base gravy and simmer the chickpeas.
Reasons to try
Unique flavor profile.
Refreshing in taste.
Full of flavors.
Perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Vegetarian and gluten-free.
1. Soak the Chickpeas: To ensure even cooking and tenderness, soak the chickpeas overnight or for at least 8 hours before cooking. This helps in reducing the cooking time and improves the texture.
2. Use fresh herbs: Using fresh coriander and mint leaves is the essence of a good green kurma curry. Besides its flavor, the leaves also render a dark green color to the curry. One tip here is that you should not over-blend these leaves as the mint leaves tend to turn black.
3. Do not skip the whole spices: They are the magical formula that really brings this dish to life.
4. Tomato puree/paste: Instead of using chopped tomatoes, grind the tomatoes. This helps in achieving a smooth consistency gravy.
5. Paste texture: Grind the kurma paste to a fine paste to get a creamy texture.
6. Sauté the onions: Sauté the onions until golden brown before adding other ingredients. This caramelizes the onions, adding depth and richness to the gravy.
7. Rest the kurma: Do not serve the kurma immediately. If time permits, rest it for some time, the flavors mature during the rest time and enhance the taste of the curry. It also allows the chickpeas to absorb all the flavors.
Don’t get intimidated about the list of ingredients – they are all common Indian spices easily available in Indian grocery stores.
Chickpeas (garbanzo beans): White channa, kabuli channa, or chole is preferred for this recipe.
You can substitute it with canned chickpeas. Drain all the liquid from the canned chickpeas and rinse them in fresh water before using them.
Oil: I have used vegetable oil. Any oil works fine in this recipe.
Tempering: Bay leaf, onion, and curry leaves.
Kurma Paste: coconut, fennel seeds, poppy seeds, cashews, green chilies, fennel seeds, ginger, garlic, cloves, cinnamon, green cardamom, star anise, mace, coriander leaves, mint leaves, and tomato.
If you do not have access to whole spices, use homemade or store-bought garam masala powder or shahi biryani masala (Everest brand).
Powdered spices: red chili powder.
Seasoning and garnishing: salt and coriander leaves.
How to make Chickpeas Kurma (step-by-step)
Step 1: Soaking the Chickpeas
1. Take the dried chickpeas in a large bowl. Rinse the chickpeas thoroughly under cold water to remove any dirt or impurities.
Place the chickpeas in a large bowl or pot and cover them with enough water. The water level should be at least a few inches above the chickpeas as they will expand during soaking.
2. Add 1/4 tsp cooking soda and give a good mix.
Let the chickpeas soak for at least 8 hours or overnight. This extended soaking time helps soften the beans and reduce cooking time.
Can skip cooking soda if you do not want to use it.
3. After soaking, drain the water from the chickpeas and rinse them again. The chickpeas are ready to use. Keep them aside.
Step 2: Making the Special Paste
4. In a mixie or grinder jar, add coconut (dry or fresh), cashews, fennel seeds, poppy seeds, cloves, cinnamon stick, green cardamom, star anise, mace, coriander seeds, and cumin.
5. Blend the ingredients until they form a coarse powder.
This will ensure there are no big bits of spices that end up in the curry.
6. Next, add ginger, garlic, green chilies, tomato, coriander leaves, and mint leaves.
Grind until you achieve a smooth consistency. Add 1-2 tbsp water if needed.
Step 3: Make the base gravy and simmer the chickpeas.
7. Heat oil in a pressure cooker over medium flame. When the oil is hot, add bay leaf, finely chopped onion, and curry leaves.
8. Saute until the onion turn light golden color.
Stir at regular intervals for even cooking.
9. Add the masala paste and saute until the moisture evaporates and the oil starts to separate from the mixture.
10. Add salt and red chili powder and saute until the spice powder blends well and the raw aroma goes away.
11. Add the soaked chickpeas and saute for 1-2 minutes to coat the chickpeas with the spice mixture.
12. Add water at least an inch above the chickpeas. Turn the flame to high and let the water come to a boil. Taste check and add salt and spice, if needed.
The water level should be sufficient to fully submerge the chickpeas and provide enough liquid for them to absorb and soften.
13. Close the pressure cooker lid and cook on medium heat for about 4-5 whistles.
The cooking time may vary based on the type and quality of your chickpeas.
14. Once the pressure is released naturally, open the cooker. Sheck the chickpeas for tenderness. If they are not cooked completely, you can continue to cook them for a couple more whistles.
Check the consistency of the kurma gravy. If it is too thick, add a little water to adjust the consistency. If it is too thin, cook uncovered for a few more minutes to thicken it.
15. Turn off the flame and garnish the kurma with freshly chopped coriander leaves.
Chickpeas Kurma is ready. Serve hot or warm with rice, roti, naan, or any Indian bread of your choice.
When it comes to serving chickpeas kurma, there are several options that complement the flavors of this flavorful dish:
2. Roti: Serve it as a side dish with freshly baked roti, chapati, naan, tandoori roti, parotta, poori, or lacha paratha.
If you have leftover chickpeas kurma, transfer it to a clean and dry airtight container and store it in the refrigerator. It can last for up to 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator.
The chickpeas kurma tastes better the next day as the flavors mature over time.
Before serving, reheat the curry. To reheat the chickpeas kurma, gently warm it in a saucepan over medium heat or in a microwave. Stir occasionally to ensure even heating. If needed, you can add a splash of water to adjust the consistency.
Though this kurma recipe uses chickpeas, you can also follow the same recipe to make a mixed vegetable kurma or with just one kind of vegetable according to your choice and availability.
You can replace chickpeas with boiled eggs, chicken, or meat.
Can follow the same recipe to make paneer or soya chunks kurma.
You can substitute cashews with fried gram/bhuna chana.
More Related Recipes
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Chickpeas Kurma Recipe | Chana Kurma
- 1 cup Chickpeas (dried)
- 1/4 tsp Cooking soda (optional)
- 3-4 cups Water (for soaking)
- 1/4 cup Oil
- 2 medium Bay leaves
- 6 numbers Curry leaves
- 2 medium Onions (finely chopped)
- 1 tsp Red chili powder
- Salt to taste
- Water (as required)
- 2 tbsp Coriander leaves
Special Masala Paste
- 1/4 cup Coconut (dry or fresh)
- 1/2 tbsp Poppy seeds (optional)
- 1 tsp Fennel seeds (saunf)
- 6-7 numbers Cashews
- 1/4 cup Coriander leaves
- 1/8 cup Mint leaves
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 3-4 numbers Cloves
- 1 inch Cinnamon stick
- 2 small Green cardamoms
- 1 small Star anise
- 2-3 strands Mace
- 5-6 numbers Green chilies (adjust as per spice preference)
- 1 inch Ginger
- 6-7 cloves Garlic
- 2 medium Tomato